After protests by CNG station owners on Thursday afternoon, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) allowed pumps to open five hours before the scheduled two-day closure across Sindh.
Owners gathered outside the head office of SSGC on Thursday evening and protested against the provincial government’s decision to close CNG stations for two days a week.
CNG stations suspended operations on Tuesday 11pm and were supposed to resume on Thursday 11pm, however, protests and subsequently a meeting between CNG station owners and SSGC management led to stations opening on Thursday evening around 6pm.
SSGC spokesperson Inayatullah Ismail said that the argument of CNG station owners was not completely wrong and the management accepted their demand. They said that they pay all dues to SSGC on time while Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) does not pay its dues and that have reached to Rs34 billion, he added.
The management of SSGC and representatives of CNG station owners will meet soon to decide the weekly gas load management in Sindh, Ismail added.
Despite gas distributor’s warnings, there were few stations in Karachi where people reported that influential owners did not close their stations and continued operations on Wednesday and Thursday.
A public transport driver said that he managed to get CNG, albeit at a higher price on the days stations were supposed to be closed. CNG rickshaws were also seen on the roads, however, they also charged hefty amounts from customers as they were running on petrol.
Sindh government recently decided to supply 180 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) gas to Karachi Electric Supply Company in order to end outages in industrial areas of the city. The drawback of the agreement was that the government decided to shut CNG stations in the province for two-days a week.
At present, owing to gas shortage in the country, SSGC is supplying 140 mmcfd gas against the required 180 mmcfd to KESC.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2011.
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